Suffolk: May Gurney backs offender rehabilitation scheme Making Ground

A WORK experience programme, run by East Anglia-based support services group May Gurney, which helps prisoners reaching the end of their sentences to reintegrate with society, is being extended across the UK following a successful trial in Suffolk.

The “Making Ground” programme gives low-risk offenders the opportunity to gain work experience and training while completing their prison sentence and is designed to help restore self-esteem.

Since its launch in June 2011, the scheme has proved a great success and May Gurney is currently working with three Suffolk prisons, giving inmates the opportunity to rebuild their lives and careers.

Later this month, six inmates from HMP Highpoint will carry out a three-day community tidy up Red Lodge, an instance where Making Ground will help inmates contribute to their communities and build their work experience and skills base.

One former HMP Highpoint inmate, who gained his streetworks qualifications while serving there, has been offered eight weeks’ work experience with various May Gurney teams.

Jason Benham, scheme leader for Making Ground, said: “We are delighted with the success of this scheme which has helped a number of offenders in Suffolk take the first steps back into paid employment at the end of their sentences.

“This type of work experience is vital in helping offenders build their skills and get used to a work environment and plays a key role in helping rehabilitate them back into useful roles in society. We are delighted to be working with May Gurney in introducing this scheme across the UK, particularly given the success of the trial projects in Suffolk.”

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Mr Benham recently attended a job club at HMP Hollesley Bay and is now looking to place two inmates with May Gurney on a work experience basis. He is also attending a monthly job clubs at Blundeston and Hollesley Bay to help inmates due for release improve their interviews skills and CVs.